Bus driver

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A Bus Driver for Ventura Bus LinesMelbourne, Australia.

A bus driver, bus operator, or omnibus driver is a person who drives buses for a living.


In many jurisdictions, bus drivers must have a special license above and beyond a regular driver's licence. Bus drivers typically drive their vehicles between bus stations or stops. Bus drivers often drop off and pick up passengers on a predetermined route schedule. In British English a different term, coach driver (or coach captain), is used for drivers on privately-booked long-distance routes, tours and school trips.

There are various types of bus drivers, including transit drivers, school bus drivers and tour bus drivers. Bus drivers may work for city, public (state and national/federal) governments, school boards, and private enterprises, such as charter companies which run tour buses. Coach captains in Australia are frequently freelance sub-contractors who work for various bus and coach companies.


One famous incident involving a bus driver during the period of racial segregation in the United States was in 1955, when Montgomery, Alabama bus driver James F. Blake insisted that African-American passenger Rosa Parks give up her seat for a white man, and she refused; this began a bus boycott that ultimately ended segregation on public transportation in the United States of America.

By country[edit]


In Australia, bus and coach drivers need a Drivers Licence (issued in an Australian state or territory) in the class of vehicle they can drive.

Additionally, they are required to possess a Drivers Authorisation (also issued by the state or territory). The Drivers Authorisation entails a regular review of driving history, criminal history, and medical assessment (for fitness to drive).

In 2012, Australia had a fleet of 90,599 buses[1] and collectively travelled about 2.0 billion km. The average age of the national fleet is 11.0 years.[2]

In 2011, there were 40,900 bus and coach drivers employed in the industry. They work an average of 41.7 hours/week and the average age is 54 years. The main employing industries are Transport, Postal and Warehousing 87.4%, and the remainder include Health Care and Social Assistance 4%, Education and Training 3.1%, and Accommodation and Food Services 2.7% [3]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom drivers must have passed the Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) practical driving and theory test. PCV drivers also have to possess a Certificate of Professional Qualification card which requires extra training to be taken. Service bus drivers in the UK are not subject to the working hours restrictions devised by the European Union if their journeys do not exceed 50 miles radius, but are governed by less stringent UK Drivers' Hours Regulations. For example, a service bus driver may drive for 5.5 hours without a break in the UK.[4]

People with certain medical conditions are excluded from becoming bus drivers. Some of these conditions include Migraine (if it affects vision), Alcoholism and Epilepsy.[5]

Traditionally, before the introduction of one-man buses on many city routes, the bus driver had no contact with the passengers, the tickets being sold by a bus conductor. Now, drivers have the additional responsibility of selling tickets, keeping to the timetable and providing customer service.

Because of the additional workload many buses are fitted with closed-circuit television in an attempt to protect drivers from an increasing number of attacks which has resulted in a recruitment crisis in some British cities. [1]

Bus drivers often come to the role from previous careers. Of course some bus drivers go on to do other things, such as British bus driver-turned singer Matt Monro for instance[citation needed]. Actor Robert Carlyle passed the bus driver's test so he could drive a bus onscreen for his role as a bus driver in the film Carla's Song. Cliff Richard learned to drive a bus for his role in the film Summer Holiday. [2]

United States[edit]

As of 2010, there are approximately 650,000 U.S. employed bus drivers.[6] One of the most common jobs in the United States for a bus driver is to work for a public school, transporting students aboard a school bus to and from the school building. As of 2004, 71% of bus drivers in the U.S. were employed by schools.[citation needed] In other countries, school transport is often provided by the same companies that run other bus services in the area, so school bus driver is not a separate position.

In the United States, finding a position as a bus driver usually requires that the individual possess a commercial driver's license (CDL) and specialized training for the vehicle. Various other educational and vocational training may be required, but this varies from place to place. Bus drivers also need to possess social skills for interacting with their passengers, which is a daily occurrence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Main Features - Main Features". 
  2. ^ Statistics, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of. "Main Features - Transport equipment". 
  3. ^ "Job Outlook - Make Your Career a Reality". 
  4. ^ "Drivers’ hours and tachographs rules: buses and coaches (PSV375) - Guidance - GOV.UK". 
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2014-04-20. 
  6. ^ "Bus Drivers : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics". 

External links[edit]